Aspiring and existing Filipino entrepreneurs can soon avail of free business mentorship from Canadian business experts, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) partners with a Canadian development organization focusing on capacity building to stimulate entrepreneurship for the long-term.

DTI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) to improve DTI’s capacity to expand integrative and inclusive business services provided to clients nationwide through the Negosyo Centers (NCs) and the Shared Service Facilities (SSF).

The 447 currently established NCs are part of DTI’s grand initiative to boost micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), offering the sector efficient business mentoring services, functional competencies, advice and information on market. SSFs, meanwhile, cater MSMEs the needed machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system.

The MOU cites cooperation between two sides to strengthen the capacity of DTI, local partners and beneficiaries by providing training, advisory services and mentoring at the institutional and individual levels through the application of high-level Canadian technical expertise.

“The transfer of skills and knowledge from Canadian advisors with an average of 25 years of experience have been proven effective, after pilot-testing this system in Region 4A,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, adding that such partnership complements government’s existing initiative to equip MSMEs with proper business mentoring.

Through NCs, DTI assisted more than 490,000 clients and conducted over 6,000 seminars for MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs. NCs also created over 41,000 MSMEs.

Immediate outcomes also include increased capacity of local government units (LGUs) to use automated revenue generation systems and knowledge transfer on the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for marketing, communications, monitoring and evaluation purposes.

“With all these in the work, our partnership can only lead to increased technical, entrepreneurial and management skills for our MSMEs,” Sec. Lopez added.

CESO is a Toronto-based international economic development institution dedicated to sustainably reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth. Its main focus areas are on private sector development and institutional strengthening of government agencies and local partners.

The MOU provides that CESO will design a multi-year program of assistance touching on NC’s expansion plans, rapid assessment business diagnostics, program development and implementation and monitoring and evaluation. 

This program of assistance will be included in a proposal for funding support that CESO will submit to Global Affairs Canada.